Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Green Ribbons

Continuing with my exploration of the world of greens, I bought collard greens yesterday and brought them home to try. Neither My Beloved nor I had ever had collards, to our knowledge.

I consulted online sources only to discover that most recipes for this green take long hours of cooking, usually with a ham hock or other pig part to give flavor. The problem was that I had no ham, hock or otherwise, in the house. So, I decided, although they are more leathery than either Swiss chard or kale, that I would try a quick sauté in a drizzle of canola oil and about a tablespoon of bacon fat, as close to a pig part as I had on hand.

I removed the rather tough central rib and rolled the leaves into a sort of log shape, then cut them into very fine ribbons, perhaps 1/4 or 1/8 inch across, ending up with thin, grayish green ribbons. The quick heat of the wide sauté pan, however, brightened up that green immediately - in the blink of an eye, it turned to emerald. Snuggled up next to our roast chicken, shallots and kabocha squash, it made a very pretty fall plate.

My Beloved didn't care for the slight bitterness of this green nor the chewy texture - he only ate half of his -
he's like that about Brussels sprouts, too, another member of the same botanical family. I actually liked it; I'll probably make this again when he's away on a sales trip and I'm in the mood for a hearty, muscular, bright green veggie.

10 Comments:

Blogger Kailyn said...

I always put vinegar on collard greens. Probably helps with the bitter taste. Because while I will eat collards, I too am not a fan of brussel sprouts -- or garbage balls as I like to call them.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

You MUST put vinegar (like Kailyn said) and HOT SAUCE on collard greens. It's in the Collard Green Manifesto! You did the right thing by cutting out the center ribs but if you want to make it the southern way, cook the tough part with some pork bits (or stock made from pork bits which has been degreased), onions, vinegar, hot peppers, and then, when they are tender, all the leafy part. You don't have to douse the greens with hot sauce but you do need to zap the taste a bit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

I only get to eat sprouts when Mr Brown is away - I wonder why so many more women prefer greens of this type, to men?

Thursday, October 29, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn, but wouldn't vinegar just make the greens even more bitter?

Nancy, see my question for Kailyn. I'm kind of a hot sauce wimp, too. Obviously, no Southern roots.

Morgan, superior intelligence.

Thursday, October 29, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Nancy is so right about the hot sauce. Used to use but now my dad cooks collards with jalapeño. As for the vinegar, somehow the acid really does cut the bitter. If you use something like a balsamic, it will be sweet. When I was growing up, my family used red wine vinegar though.

Thursday, October 29, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

As Kailyn said, the vinegar doesn't make the greens more bitter but more savory. Think of it as a form of salad dressing. I confess that I like using white vinegar to begin with and then, end with cider vinegar but then, I like the hint of vinegar with the greens. The reason Southern cooks cook greens (esp. bitter greens) so long is that it does mellow out the bitterness. You don't have to cook them that long any more, but a bit of longer cooking is probably a good idea if you and Mr. Zoomie don't like the bitter taste.

Thursday, October 29, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Here's my suggestion, Zoomie: Just try cooking collards Southern style, and see what we're talking about. You can use a mix of greens, but collards are the toughest and take the longest time.
Here's a dream-like guide on how to go about it, but by no means a definitive recipe.
http://madeater.blogspot.com/2006/03/ice-harvest-day-3.html

Thursday, October 29, 2009  
Blogger kudzu said...

Well yes, of course those collards were tough. They get "sweeter" and more tender the longer they cook (anything less than 45 minutes doesn't cut it). We used to have pepper vinegar (a shaker bottle of vinegar with little devilish red chiles packed into it) to season the greens at the table. Both types of flavors complement the muskiness of the collards (which shouldn't be bitter when they're cooked long enough).

Thursday, October 29, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn and Nancy, okay, next time I will try the vinegar as you suggest and maybe even a tiny dab of hot sauce.

Cookiecrumb, thanks for the link and the encouragement.

Thursday, October 29, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kudzu, the collards weren't tough, as I had virtually made a chiffonade of them, but they were a bit bitter. I'll cook them longer next time and see what a difference that makes. Shoulda known there would be a reason all those traditional recipes featured long, slow cooking.

Friday, October 30, 2009  

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